Seaside Special (Show Two)

RICHARD BATSON Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier

RICHARD BATSON

Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier

The mark two version of Cromer's summer season is as packed with variety as the opening show.

Highlights are the astounding skills and wit of ventriloquist Steve Hewlett, two impressive singers in Harvey James and Louise Franck and the tireless dancers.

Hewlett stole the show with a solo session where he talked to a cheeky skunk, charming lamb - even a bottle of water and a suitcase - and added an edge to the sugary Grandad song with his grouchy old man Arthur in a separate cameo spot.

Franck's soaring soprano voice faultlessly hit the high notes in the Laughing Song from Die Fleder-maus, while James schmoozed and smiled through some Sinatra swing that had the audience singing along.

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Comic Peter Piper seemed less on song than in the opening show, but still showed his versatility with impressions of Tommy Cooper and Eric Morecambe. Flautist Julie Groves had feet tapping with a nimble-fingered Irish hornpipe.

A Chicago routine impressed thanks to producer Di Cooke's con-sistently inventive choreography.

The special tries to move with the times, but a first half closing Queen selection did not buzz as much as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang from show one, despite a clever Cromer version of Barcelona.

For me the alternating Show Two lacked the wow and energy factor of Show One, but is still a great night's entertainment. On Grand Prix weekend, maybe not a winner, but certainly a podium finish.